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Monday, September 30, 2013

Twelve(?) Anime BGM That Deserve More Love Part 2

Here we are...  The End.  I've brought up 56 songs from nearly as many animes (a few repeat showings here & there), so why not list eight more?  Unfortunately, only one of these clips were available for me to link from YouTube via Blogspot, let alone even be on YouTube, but I've improvised.  Let's finish this!

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"Shakunetsu no Ikari" by Osamu Totsuka & Takeshi Ike (from Dancougar: Super Bestial Machine God)
Sometimes an anime is defined, sound-wise, by something like an OP...  And then there's stuff like this, where an anime is defined by a piece of BGM.  That little intro is like a tease, making you almost want to skip ahead but you worry you'll miss the real into to the song.  Afterwards this song just simply rocks.  Sure, it's little more than a simple riff that's repeated ad-nauseum, but like I mentioned with "Destiny girl" from the OPs list sometimes that one riff is enough to keep your attention.  In terms of show use this song is sometimes used during the combination sequence of the Dancouga[r] itself, other times you'll hear "Kemono wo Koe, Hito wo Koe", & other times it's used during battle.  Regardless of timing, though, this song just screams absolute awesomeness.  You want to know how badass this song is?  Games in the SRW franchise that feature Dancougar originally used the first OP, "Ai yo Faraway", or the first ED, "Burning Love", but once "Shakunetsu no Ikari" was used in SRW Alpha 3 it afterwards became the absolute only song that represented the series.  Screw any sort of song you can sing to, even Banpresto knew that you shouldn't f*** with this song!

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"B'T Emotion" by Fumitaka Anzai (from B't X Neo)
I've mentioned before, but Masami Kurumada titles tend to have a classical feel to them, so what better to have as a BGM for one of the animes than by utilizing a mix of rock & orchestral?  Really, there's so much to this song that it's tough to cover it all properly.  That piano intro, which adds on synth & drums as it goes on, sets the tone perfectly, and then you get the mix of guitar, drums, & organ during the "verse" before the strings come into play!  It's haunting yet epic at the same time, very fitting with the slight Christian undertones that emanate from the title.  It's weird, too, because I can't exactly remember when this song plays during the OVA series, but I kind of want to look back & find where.  Really, though, just let it's orchestral rock epicness take your very being, and simply go full bore into the world it gives off.  Again, why don't more people look at Masami Kurumada's other works, especially when there's such great treasures to be found (like this song)?

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"NONSTOP BØYS" by Hallelujah Boys (from Hareluya II BØY)
Wait, wasn't this month supposed to be "Classical Music Month"?  Well then, how about an absolutely amazing rock rendition of Bach's "Toccata & Fugue in D minor"?  I had mentioned this song back during my BØY review, but I didn't exactly give proper credit to the artists behind it.  I had thought that Shingo Kobayashi had done all of the music, but upon actually getting my hands on the first OST for the series, "Hareluya on the First", I saw that some of the music, including this very song, was done by a duo called Hallelujah Boys.  Actually a non-Japanese duo composed of guitarist Vincent Penn & keyboardist Duran Chapee, this song in particular is easily their best work from the entire anime.  Not only is the speed of the playing just insane but you can also completely identify the song as a cover as Bach's creepy classic.  I just couldn't let a song like this remain unknown...  I have to share it with the world!  Listen to it's absolute impressiveness and tell me it's not amazing.  Appropriately enough, the song is used numerous times during the show, usually during very dangerous & important scenes, and every time you hear it you know something cool is going to go down.  It's such an absolute shame that BØY is not available on DVD, those last three LDs are impossible to find online, because the thought of stuff like this being unknown & unavailable is just sad.

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"A DAY OF NEXT 7" by Akifumi Tada (from Next Senki Ehrgeiz)
Every person has a starting place, and for both Shiro Hamaguchi & Akifumi Tada their anime music careers (from a composing standpoint) began with Ehrgeiz.  Hamaguchi's songs for the show were good, but the best song of the show belongs to Tada, and it's the main theme of the carefree life the outlaws live on the ravaged Next 7 colony.  Much like "Nouryoku Battle!" from Part 1 this song is actually composed of two portions.  The first is a really relaxed & upbeat ditty that really helps give off the true sense of "living for the moment" that the outlaws follow, at least before they become involved with the whole mystery of "S".  The second portion, on the other hand, is essentially the same song as the first portion, but this time done in a slow, somber form that lets the viewer understand how much of a "family" that these rough & rowdy people really are.  Again, while Ehrgeiz isn't exactly an absolute "best of" show for the time it was released in it's still a really cool show, and I certainly am always willing to back it up; songs like this certainly help prove my point, I'd say.  How Justin Sevakis could call this "almost-as-bad" as AWOL is just beyond me...


"Hateshinaki Tabiji Ver. 2" by Hideki Taniuchi (from Akagi)
If you can't tell, all of Madhouse's gambling animes have simply outstanding music, and this series was actually Taniuchi's second one ever...  Again, what a shame about the marijuana arrest.  This is essentially the "main theme" of Akagi's life of mahjong playing, playing extremely often during either the beginning, middle, or end of an episode.  As the title indicates, there is a "Ver. 1" of the song, with the difference being the tone of the saxophone being used (bass vs. tenor), but I have to choose the tenor in the end.  Either way, the song starts off moody right from the start, fitting in perfectly with the dark & seedy underworld of Akagi immediately.  Then that riff comes in (once again that word) & you're sucked in...  But when the sax starts up you'll definitely be in love with this song.  While I would argue that Kaiji's OST is better than Akagi's on the whole, I think the best Akagi song is easily better than the best Kaiji song.  Regardless, Taniuchi's abilities are so simply exquisite, and I do hope he can be given a second chance in the anime industry.  To deny him the ability to apply his craft in anime would be an absolute injustice, honestly.  Here's hoping that CrunchyRoll can only help add more voices to Taniuchi's cause...  Oh, yeah, didn't you know?  Akagi is on CrunchyRoll, baby!!!

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"Omokage wo Mune ni" by Susumu Ueda (from Ring ni Kakero 1)
Yes, yes, I freaking love this anime series...  That much is obvious.  But I don't think I've given enough credit to Susumu Ueda's absolutely amazing music, and it's sad that there has been only one OST ever released for the anime; a 2005 release for the first season.  Since then Ueda made new songs for each successive season, some of which are easily the absolute best in the entire series.  The music during the final battle with Sousui & Team Greece's theme in particular are amazing, but since I neither have access to their full versions nor know their names I can't honestly include either of them here.  So, from that OST release, which one is the best?  Well, it's got to be a variation of the OP, "Asu he no Toushi", of which there are numerous versions.  There's an upbeat version, a "comeback" version, & an intense version, but the best of them all has got to be the sad version.  Utilizing only a piano & a violin this version of the OP manages to transform a song about standing up to fight for another day (nay, being "willing to fight forever") & turns it into a somber, reflective theme.  Obviously, the song is used during sad moments, when the worst seems to have happened, and every time it's used it has a strong impact.  Ueda was able to use so little to create so much power behind it, and the fact that's he's used only sparingly in anime (he's more of a live-action composer) makes it imperative that his anime work be looked at with more focus.  Like with "B'T Emotion" above, it's sad that people turn a blind eye to any non-Seiya Kurumada anime, especially when there's so much to like.

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"Do the Slide" by EBBY (from Eat-Man)
While the original Eat-Man anime is notorious for its absolute bizarre & vague stories, almost as infamous is the extremely experimental music.  Yuki Kajiura is normally given all of the credit for the music, it's an early work for her, but she, in fact, only did half of the music.  There were two OSTs released for this anime, the second was all Kajiura's music, but the first was the music done by the person known only as EBBY.  While Kajiura's work isn't anything to scoff at, it's in fact able to bring about all sorts of emotions, EBBY's contributions are probably the more "fun" works.  In my opinion, the two best from this other composer are the songs "I Ask", used at the end of episode 2 & featuring some crazy drunken folk-style singing, & "Do the Slide".  Used only once in the series, "Do the Slide" makes its mark in a strong fashion.  Bolt Crank is being chased by some people, & during that chase this song plays, really delivering the crazed & unorganized feel the chase has.  This is a good part of why this first Eat-Man anime is so hard to properly talk about: It's essentially all over the place.  Stories don't always have proper ends, plot lines aren't fully explained, & events are kind of almost spontaneous at some moments...  But it all comes together to make an absolutely one-of-a-kind experience to watch.  Kajiura & EBBY only help give it more life through music.

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"Khamen Khamen" by Masayuki Yamamoto (from Ginga Senpuu Braiger)
When it came to selecting the final song to put into this list there was really no competition.  Just listen to it & you'll see why it had to be saved for last.  It's entrancing in its simplicity, pulling you in & never letting go, and at nearly five minutes long it actually feels like it might never end, but that's just fine because you don't want it to end.  Really, can you believe that this is the theme of the eponymous villain of the series?  Yeah, so harshness, evil, malice, or anything like that is not in the song.  Instead, it's simply entrancing, with maybe a hint of slyness that the villain just might be.  In fact, considering how episodic Braiger is, you apparently don't even see Khamen Khamen himself until near the end, and when you do this music plays...  Simply brilliant.  That chant of "Khaaaaameeeen, Khaaaaameeeen, Khaaaaameeeen, Khaaaaameeeen" enters your very psyche & it never really leaves...  It only hibernates, waiting for the right moment to sound off inside of your head.  Truly, you will never forget the music of Khamen Khamen.

Well, that's 64 pieces of music for you to listen to.  I think that's a perfect way to celebrate Classical Music Month, don't you think?  Just remember that, the next time you watch an anime, you should give an ear to the music.  Sure, the animation might be pretty & the story can be engrossing, but sometimes the music might in fact be the real appeal at some moment.  Now, I bid you all adieu...

"Khaaaaameeeen, Khaaaaameeeen, Khaaaaameeeen, Khaaaaameeeen"
"Khaaaaameeeen, Khaaaaameeeen, Khaaaaameeeen, Khaaaaameeeen"

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